CVPH Medical Center is eyeing a future in which it has all private rooms to offer its patients. That’s wonderful news for the patients and good news for the hospital, as well.
The Plattsburgh hospital, along with its partner Elizabethtown Community Hospital, has won a grant of more than $7 million from the state. CVPH’s share, $5,639,000, will be put toward converting double rooms into 22 more privates. The hospital is now 70 percent private, President Stephens Mundy told us.
The news of the grant, as well as the long-term goal for private rooms only, is certainly an attractive development for future patients. After all, who wants to go to the hospital and share a room with a stranger?
When you’re ailing, you generally don’t feel much in the mood for socializing, politeness and all the other requirements of civilized human interplay. And you also don’t want to have to listen to visitors coming to see the person in the next bed over. If you’re weary and trying to sleep, conversation across the room, even on the other side of a curtain, can be distracting and unwelcome.
When you visit a hospital these days, chances are you’ll see a sign reminding you that exposure to quiet has been certified as a healing factor. A private room promises more quiet than a double, so a patient’s hospital stay might be shortened.
And that’s good for the hospital, too. In New York, hospitals are reimbursed by the state through a complicated formula that rewards turnover. These days, long hospital stays are the oddity. The emphasis on health care is home recuperation and rehabilitation wherever possible. Patients are sent home as soon as they are able to care for themselves or be tended to by family.
And far more procedures are done on an outpatient basis, which also frees up space and enables hospitals to offer more private rooms.
Back in the 1980s, CVPH was certified by the New York State Department of Health for 420 beds; now the number is 333 beds, according to Director of Public Relations Michael Hildebran. In 2010, admissions totaled 12,544, but that dropped to 11,430 in early 2011 because the new Cardiac Short-Stay Unit enables many patients to be treated without being admitted.
CVPH has done remarkably well, over the years, in keeping its finances sound. A hospital is a business, after all, and must retain a healthy bottom line.
Moving toward private rooms, which more closely mirror the home environment, is a healthy development for all of us — and the Medical Center.